Market conditions have remained stable to slightly firm across most log segments over the last month. Domestic supply constraints appear to have improved but all regions report sawmills are just getting enough logs. Some were reported to be bending a few of the quality rules to get the volume of logs they need.
Our log pricing review suggests domestic prices across several grades have improved by three dollars a tonne overall. But this is very much the average with, in one region, a rise of as much as $10 a tonne since July. Export pruned logs have dropped five dollars a cubic metre. It is good to see a price correction but based on my recent trip to China I can confirm quality remains a big problem.
Overall, unpruned export prices have improved four dollars a cubic metre since the last Tree Grower report. There is an interesting scenario developing here. It is evident that where more than one India export company is operating at a port, the equivalent China prices have risen more sharply. The China exporters are having to squeeze their margins to get what they need.
This is the first tangible sign of the India market featuring sufficiently strong enough to significantly influence prices. From a New Zealand forest grower perspective, long may this continue.
India prices are remaining slightly ahead of China based on prices at the New Zealand wharf. This is particularly so in the lower priced bottom grades where industrial and pulp logs have a clear preference in India.